27 March 2018 The effects of damage accumulation in optimizing a piezoelectric energy harvester configuration
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Bimorph piezoelectric elements are often used to harvest energy for low-power structural health monitoring systems. When these piezoelectric elements are deployed for extended periods of time and operate under near-resonant conditions, the resulting high amplitude cycling can lead to degradation of the piezoelectric element, resulting in a shift in the design fundamental frequency. For scenarios in which the piezoelectric harvester is subject to slowly-varying time-dependent frequency inputs, the natural frequency shift due to degradation may cause the piezoelectric harvester to detune from resonance, subsequently affecting the harvester’s power output. The current study seeks to understand how the accumulation of damage shifts the optimal tip mass and resistive load in a bimorph piezoelectric energy harvester. A cantilever piezoelectric element is modeled utilizing coupled electromechanical equations in a distributed system. The piezoelectric is subject to ground accelerations; the resulting power output is recorded for a range of tip masses and resistive loads. A rainflow analysis is then performed to calculate the piezoelectric element’s tip displacement amplitude and the corresponding cycle count. A damage accumulation model based on a weighted form of Miner’s rule is then used to degrade the harvester’s flexural rigidity, piezoelectric capacitance, and piezoelectric strain constant. The piezoelectric is again loaded and the process repeated. The resulting power output contours reveal how the optimal realization of tip mass and resistive load changes as damage accumulates in the piezoelectric element. Apparent trends in the power output contours are explained. Approved for publication, LA-UR-18-20075.
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Eric J. Kjolsing, Eric J. Kjolsing, Michael D. Todd, Michael D. Todd, } "The effects of damage accumulation in optimizing a piezoelectric energy harvester configuration", Proc. SPIE 10598, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2018, 105982R (27 March 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2283053; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2283053

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